TOVI's Science Communicator, Ashley Miller-Dykeman, M.A.
The Winding Path to Sustainable Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race. Here's how to make your weight loss journey a sustainable one.
Today’s world is one of instant gratifications. If you want to watch a movie, you download it from Netflix; if you feel like sushi for dinner, you have it delivered to your doorstep in minutes. While the convenience of all the recent advances are great, it has left us unaccustomed to waiting.
The driving need to get things how you want it when you want it, persists even when it comes to things that should not happen quickly, like weight loss. People that want to lose weight usually want to lose it FAST, regardless of the impact it has on their physical and emotional wellbeing. This explains the appeal of various fad diets, ‘detoxes,’ and miracle weight loss drugs. When it comes to weight loss, however, slow and steady wins the race, ultimately resulting in long-term success.
Focus on thoughtful changes, not short-term diets.
The ideal rate to lose weight is about 1 to 2 pounds per week, which is roughly equal to reducing your caloric intake by 500 to 1000 calories every day.
This can be accomplished through small, thoughtful changes, not a huge overhaul of everything you eat. By changing your dietary habits gradually, you are more likely to make changes for life, not for a few weeks.
Identify your quick wins.
The first step in losing weight this way is to identify some ‘quick wins’ for weight loss. These are simple changes that address the things that you might be over-consuming and ultimately impeding your efforts to lose weight. The idea is not to go ‘on’ a diet (which suggests you will come ‘off’ it at some point), but to learn how to make better choices so you can sustain a lower body weight.
For many people, reducing their sugar intake is their quick fix. Soda, juice, and coffee creamers can easily add thousands of extra calories to your daily caloric intake. Along the same lines, your daily dessert habit could be adding upwards of 500 calories per day. Think about it this way: cutting 500 calories per day by eliminating desserts for a full week would equal 1 pound of weight loss. If cutting dessert all-together is too much too fast, you can start with swapping out dessert for something more nutritious, like fruit.
Another quick win for many people is to reduce take-out or processed foods and start eating more ‘real’ foods. Studies have shown people eat an excess of approximately 500 calories per day when eating a diet high in ultra-processed foods. Thinking ahead, prepping your meals, and packing healthy snacks instead of eating out or choosing packaged meals can have a huge impact on your waistline (and wallet).
Identify where you can make quick fixes by taking a step back and considering everything you eat and drink in a given day.
Chances are, the very unhealthy choices you’re making will stand out to you, leading you towards gradual changes that will help you lose weight.
TOVI helps you accomplish these kinds of manageable, lasting changes by taking you through a process of education and self-reflection, so you can identify areas you may want to work on (like cutting back on sweets or take-out). It then helps you set goals to develop the healthy habits you desire. At TOVI, we help you make smart choices that will help you succeed. Download the TOVI app today. It's free!
Reviewed by: Dr. Tara Coletta, Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry